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Australian Bureau of Meteorology apps to map future rain

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Australia's Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) will this month start to place third-party advertising on its websites and is also on track to produce its own apps later in 2013 and appears set to equip them with technology that maps future rainfall.

The BoM last year won Budget funding to enhance its website to take ads, a measure that will allow Australia's government to cash in on the astounding popularity of its site, ranked the 18th-most visited in Australia (and 2067th in the world) by Alexa.

Speaking at the GeoNext conference in Sydney this week, meteorologist Doctor Robert Dahni said he has seen internal presentations of a revised site ready to carry advertising. The BoM's media team has since confirmed that a year-long trial of third-party advertising will commence this March.

Dr Dahni also told the conference that the Bureau is on track to deliver apps of its own in 2013. Many third-party apps currently include BoM data, and the Bureau is content for that to continue. For its own apps, Dahni said the organisation hopes to include services not currently exposed to the public. One of those, titled STEPS, will offer maps of likely future rainfall. The Bureau's current rain radar plots rain in close to real-time, using animated GIFs to show rainfall moving ten minutes per frame.

STEPS will upgrade that service by publishing maps maps that show where rain is likely to fall in 30, 60 and 90 minutes time, based on the path of current rain and other forecast data. ®

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